Elizabeth Sommers has written an excellent summary of AWB’s
data collection project from Louisiana. Data compilation is still
taking place, but this is results analysis of the process so far. Her
write up follows.
Acupuncturists Without Borders
Summary of Treatments Administered 10/05 through 2/06
Following Hurricane Katrina in September, 2005, Acupuncturists Without
Borders (AWB) responded by sending volunteers from around the country
to New Orleans and other affected areas. Thousands of treatments were
administered to help survivors deal with the stress of this natural
Information on demographic characteristics of individuals receiving
acupuncture treatment was collected, as well as evaluations of the
services provided. The following sections summarize the information
that was gathered.
Description of individuals receiving acupuncture
In order to determine who was using the services of AWB, questionnaires
asking for basic descriptive information were distributed. Over 2000
individuals responded to the questionnaire; the results of 2178
respondents will be summarized here. Slightly over half (52%) of this
group was female. The average age of the respondents was 63 years old,
with males being slightly older than females (64.8 years versus 61.3
years, respectively). Respondents provided information on their ethnic
and racial backgrounds; most of the group was non-Hispanic (90%).
Slightly over half this group reported being white (58%). 22% reported
being African-American, while 12% of the respondents were Asian. A
small percentage (3%) were of mixed race, while Native Americans
comprised 1% of those responding to the questionnaire. A total of 5%
were from other categories.
This was the first time acupuncture treatment was received by 68% of
the respondents. Many reported being employed the previous week (55%)
and 38% were rescue workers.
Approximately 1670 individuals responded to an AWB survey related to
their assessment of the treatment they had received. Of this group,
approximately two-thirds were responders (n=705), emergency medical
personnel. 22% (502 individuals) described themselves as evacuees. Over
1100 of the people in this group had never experienced acupuncture in
Satisfaction with treatment was quite high overall, with 30% (n=482)
individuals responding to a question about the effectiveness of
treatment on reducing their level of stress. Over one-third of the
group reported that treatment had been “very effective”,
and 380 individuals reported that treatment had been “extremely
effective”. Almost everyone questioned responded that they would
use acupuncture (n=1622) as well as recommend it to others (n=1628).
These levels of treatment satisfaction are exceptionally high and
indicate a tremendous amount of favorable response to acupuncture. Many
factors may influence this response, including:
• good relationships with acupuncture providers
• perceived effectiveness of treatment
• care provided in the context of familiar community centers and
churches that are trusted and respected.
AWB has clearly developed and assembled the elements of a successful
model of care. Since this data was compiled, the organization has
returned to areas affected by the hurricanes, and will be working with
other survivors of climatic disasters and other traumas.
Elizabeth Sommers, MPH, Lic.Ac.
Pathways to Wellness/ AIDS Care Project